A new era in insurance: Cloud computing changes the gameLast time we discussed why insurance lags behind other industries in adopting cloud technologies—and how we must overcome this reluctance to survive digital disruption.

Part of the problem with cloud technology is the overlapping definitions that many of us use when talking about it. To help clarify, Accenture developed a quick primer on what cloud computing is, and isn’t.

Cloud computing is a model for providing and sourcing information technology series on a “pay-per-use” basis through web-based tools and applications. Cloud services are elastic—allowing them to be highly configurable, adaptable, and scalable—and require less upfront investment and ongoing operating expenditure than traditional IT models.

Clouds generally take one of four models, or a combination of these:

  • Private clouds are dedicated to a single company for private use and can either be built within a company’s premises or located off-premise. They are owned and provided by an external third party to deliver virtualized application, infrastructure, and communications services for internal business users.
  • Public clouds are accessible to the pubic over a network and owned and provided by external third parties.
  • Community clouds are collaborative resources shared between a limited number of organizations with common interests, such as by industry or geographical region, with users sharing the cost. Community clouds can be hosted internally or by eternal third parties as a managed service.
  • Hybrid clouds are a combination of two or more private, public, or community clouds. Companies use hybrid solutions to blend the benefits of different cloud models, enabling them to retain confidential information while providing access to the wider variety of cloud computing services available in public clouds.

All of these models can provide computing “on demand” at one or more levels of service delivery: at the infrastructure level, at the platform level, at the application level, or at the business process level.

Next time we’ll take a look at how other technologies such as telematics will drive the use of cloud computing in the insurance industry.

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